Today we’d like to introduce you to Patrick Walgamott.
Hi Patrick, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
I loved art as a kid, mostly drawing, but when I got to college, I was told by everyone, including art majors, that there was no money in art. I didn’t pursue any studio classes and even drawing for myself fell by the wayside besides doodling during meetings I didn’t want to be in. I had been involved in the animal rescue world for several years and working full time in it for a few more, and the Humane Society of Missouri had a “paint your pet” fundraiser and I wanted to give it a shot. As a kid, I hated painting because it was messy, but I went, and in 2-3 hours had a huge painting of my dog, Sadie, to take home with me. I went to Michael’s the next day and bought paint and brushes and bought a huge drafting table off Facebook marketplace, and just started painting my other dog, Ellie.
Not long before this my girlfriend at the time had a picture of Sadie basically just run through a digital filter and framed, but it was her picture from the day I adopted her, and it is the best present I’ve ever received. So of course, I immediately think I should make a business of it, and long story short, my first commissioned painting ghosted me. I even offered to let them have it for free, and they just stopped responding. So, I was beyond disappointed, did not think I was good enough, and more or less stopped making paintings for people for a while.
Last October my older dog, Ellie, got really sick, and eventually, I had to put her down, and it was terrible. One of the worst parts was being gone for 15ish hours on my work days and I didn’t want to fathom doing that with Sadie. I still wasn’t, and still honestly don’t think I am, that great at painting, but I knew if I practiced a ton I could be at least as good as half these people on Instagram charging a lot for their work. So, I decided to just make 100 paintings for people to try to teach myself painting. I’d start with friends and family, co-workers, people involved in the rescue world, and just people I admire. The original plan was to not take any commissions until I finished the project, but by the 4th or 5th painting people just kept asking, and let’s face it, I can’t be turning down money.
So, I’m about a year into my “Zero to 100 Paintings” project and I’ve only gotten through 39 of the gift paintings. I try whenever possible to make them a surprise for people because it honestly just feels good to make something for somebody that is meaningful and you can tell they appreciate. Even though I have more fun with the gift paintings, it is equally rewarding delivering commissions, and being able to give back to the rescue community.
Right now, I am working on orders for the Christmas season, and my goal is to get enough work booked out that I can pursue this business full-time early next year. I think that the couple mural projects I have lined up will help me get the exposure I need to push me past that threshold.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Well, I’ve still got a long road ahead me. As I mentioned previously, the initial rejection I got on my first commissioned piece set me back mentally, and painting is not easy to learn, but in general, I would say it has been. I’ve gotten a lot of good feedback and I’ve even had a handful of people tell me I’ve inspired them to get back into art and other creative outlets, and that feels awesome.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
My business is just me. I love being able to create something that someone is going to have a deep connection to, and that’s my goal with every painting.
Prior to COVID, I was the community engagement coordinator at Open Door Animal Sanctuary, and I was at Stray Rescue of St. Louis before that. When the restaurants shut down, I lost half my income and had to figure something else out. Fortunately, I found a job where I am off 4 days a week to pursue my art business. I really miss my old job and how good it felt to wake up and go to work and know that you are going to help animals and do good. So, I’ve been able to get back into that a little by donating pet portraits and even some originals for a handful of events this past year. Next year I will be promoting and fundraising for a different rescue every month. My goal will be to get more people and businesses active in the rescue community, whether that be volunteering, donating, and most importantly adopting.
Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Everybody starts from the same place so don’t be afraid of failing. You’re only going to learn by doing it.
- 8×10 $90
- 10×10 $110
- 12×12 $140
- 11×14 $160
- 20% of all orders made now through Christmas goes to All Paws Safe Haven
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @zero_to_100_paintings
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zero-to-100-Paintings-106006398119059